I think you have to say in a sense that he's built a network, and it's a
network built [of] people who are personally loyal to him, ... who have common
sensitivities about issues, or common approaches to questions. So I would say
the network ... involves many organizations, not all of [which] are completely
subservient to him, but many are prepared to do his bidding, some of them for
money, some of them out of religious interest, and I think misplaced religious
interest. ... He [has] got people who are bound together to him in some kind of
misplaced sense of what Islam really stands for. Islam comes from the Islamic
word for peace or submission, and it means peace and submission to God, and so
in a sense he is a perversion, I suppose, of these kinds of beliefs in a true
What's the motive in terms of the United States?
Motive in terms of the United States, as he has said very clearly, is both to
destroy Saudi Arabia, and the friends of Saudi Arabia. The United States,
because it has forces helping Saudi Arabia to defend itself, has become an
enemy of his.
So being a friend of his enemies makes us his enemies.
Well you know, there's a long-standing saying in the Arab world, that the enemy
of my enemy is my friend. So maybe the friend of my enemy is my enemy.
On the street, we've been all over Africa, East Africa, New York,
Arlington, Texas, talking to Muslims about this phenomenon; and what they say
is that the reaction of the U.S. government has made him into, in some sense, a
folk hero for people on the street who are angry with the United States, who
feel the United States is the enemy of Islam.
I think that a number of things have given him notoriety; one of course is that
he produced the deaths of two hundred and fifty people in Nairobi, the bulk of
them Muslims, and did it in an act of abject terror of tremendous proportions.
And I suspect that it was not the attention of the United States, but the
attention of the world through the media to Osama bin Laden that has given him
new prominence, if you like, in the eyes of Muslims, in the eyes of people
around the world. It is in a sense part of the objective of terrorists, to
become notorious, and to be influential through their notoriety.
So have we been playing into his hands?
No, I think not. The United States has made it very clear that his declaration
of war against us is to be met in all possible ways, to defend our people, our
interests, our international public, and to work very hard against him. But I
think that aside from the fact of calling attention to the fact that he
represented a new danger, and taking our obligation very seriously to warn our
public, and even more seriously, obviously, to provide for a defense of
American interests overseas ... we have not sought to build up his stature of
prestige. We've left that to other people to do. ...
What we've been hearing from people in Muslim communities is [that it's
merely] allegations that he is involved. There's no proof been shown yet that
he's involved, [yet] he's convicted in the minds of the United States.
Of course, that's under judicial investigation, and I'm limited as to what I
can say about that. But he has been indicted by the United States; the
indictment has been made public. The indictment in itself is the initial
effort. It had nothing to do with the subsequent bombings, and I think over a
period of time, hopefully we'll see more information, but I think anybody who
questions this ought to take a careful look at the information that's already
been brought forward before they do so in a cavalier fashion.
Were you involved in the deliberations as to how to retaliate to the
bombings or how to respond to the bombings?
Well, I'm not going to talk about my role inside the government, but I was
certainly knowledgeable of the considerations that were brought to play.
How carefully, was it evaluated, about the consequences of sending missiles
into two of the poorest Muslim Islamic states?
Very carefully evaluated, because they happen to have harbored, after very
considerable examination of the facts, people who literally declared themselves
at war with the United States and wanted to carry that war further to the
United States after they had destroyed our embassies, killed a dozen Americans
and two hundred and fifty Kenyans.
And you were comfortable with the idea of US missiles going into another
I'm never comfortable with the idea of using military force, but I felt it was
extremely important in that occasion, when we could take steps to defeat
efforts we knew that were being planned to be taken against us, that we do so.
And [despite] the questions about the evidence, particularly in Sudan and
the pharmaceutical factory, you still were comfortable with that position?
I looked very carefully in detail at that evidence. I felt that it was a
established with great scientific accuracy, and I felt it was persuasive.
In the Sudan where we were, we spent a week in Khartoum in the Sudan and the
head of the Military Industrial Corporation asked us, "Why did they hit us, why
did they hit a pharmaceutical factory?"
I would expect that he would say that to you. I have had the opportunity to
speak to the Sudanese, and told the Sudanese that it was United States policy,
that they ought to join the chemical weapons convention. They tell me they
would do it in from 24 to 48 hours, of course they haven't done it yet. With
that particular step, of course, they could have all the inspections they
President Bashir told us that in 1996 he sent a letter to the State
Department saying that he would cooperate with the United States government,
with the FBI, with the CIA, "You want to look at what's going on in the
country, you want to checkout terrorists, chemical weapons plants, scud
missiles, whatever the allegation is, you're welcome to come." He says he's
still waiting for an answer from the letter, and he extended the invitation
again on camera.
I know he said that, and I know he's claimed to have cooperated. We had
information to the contrary, information that led us to believe that his word
was not reliable with these particular circumstances, and we felt it was
That his word wasn't reliable? That we could send inspectors into the
country? That we could send our law enforcement?
That his word wasn't reliable, that he wasn't cooperating. We had no interest,
obviously, in inspecting his country, we had an interest in stopping his
support for terrorism. We have told him what we hoped and expected he would do.
He did a portion of it, but not all that we had asked of him. But he keeps
telling you and others that he'll do everything we want, but he hasn't
[performed it]. Just as the foreign minister told me that within 48 hours he
would sign on to the chemical weapons convention, and we're still waiting.
So ... no one gets off our terrorist list, as far as I know, right? Iraq is
the only country that was off for a while, and then it was back on.
... I think that has to do with a careful examination of the facts. If people
don't want to be on our terrorist list, they know pretty well what they have to
do to get off it.
What would they have to do?
They have to stop supporting terrorism.
What they say is, "We expelled Osama bin Laden, we [ handed over ] Carlos
I know that. ... I'm not sure about Carlos the Jackal, but I know what they say
they have done, and I know what it is that we had suggested to them they could
do, and I know where the gaps are.
And they haven't reached that threshold?
The obvious one is the one that I told you that we suggested. That if they
wanted inspections of Al Shifa, or any place else, that they could demonstrate
their bona fides by, in fact, joining the chemical weapons convention,
eschewing any activity in that area, and opening their country up to
inspections, and [they] haven't done it. ...
Is the terrorist threat getting bigger?
I believe it is, yes.
Even though statistics on the number of incidents have decreased?
The statistics I think you've been reading are state terrorist statistics, and
that may be going down. But the non-state [actors] I think have increased their
activities. Osama is preeminent among them, and I think that's important to
know. I think you also should know that while I can't give you statistics out
of intelligence information obviously, on the number of clear indications we
have of people working against us, that happily, maybe because of intelligence
information and some hard work on the part of our own security people ... we
haven't had as many people perhaps blown up. ... But it doesn't mean in fact
that the other side in this war, that the terrorists are in any way slowing
down or relaxing or going away. ...
A number of people have raised to us in the course of doing this story the
assertion that because there is no more Soviet Union, we need a new enemy, a
new North Star if you will, and that's Osama bin Laden, the godfather of
Now, if you sit where I do, and you see the number of difficult problems
surrounding the world, the fatuousness of the notion that we need a new enemy,
or that we need new problems to deal with is self-evident. ...
[What is the] motivation of Osama bin Laden and his associates, according to
the U.S. government, to do all this damage to us?
Osama bin Laden has made it very clear that he has launched a kind of jihad
against Americans. He's called upon his followers to kill Americans and to
damage American interests. He claims of course, that this is very much part of
his crusade against the present government in Saudi Arabia. Crusade is the
wrong word, I should say jihad.
The roots of this, according to many people we've talked to, Egyptians,
Americans, former CIA officials, is our policies. You could take Osama bin
Laden out of the mix, and his confederates, and another one would appear
I think the allegations are, again, completely false. If the allegation is that
somehow Americans are anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim. ...
That's not the question. The question is that just like at one time we appeared
to have a policy that was weighted towards the Israelis, with no recognition of
the Palestinians, therefore we had a great problem with the Palestinian
terrorists. Today we are we are weighted towards the Saudi regime, or towards
the Egyptian regime, and therefore we have a problem with their dissidents.
I think that's an interesting point. First and foremost, you should know that
while we have a lot of areas of common interest with Egypt and Saudi Arabia,
and the Gulf states, [preeminent among those] is the peace process. I should
tell you that Palestinians in the main, have turned from terrorist [to]
partisans in the peace process in large measure, because we've played a
significant mediator role in bringing that ahead. We have very strong
differences in some areas. You only have to read our annual human rights report
to know that in that particular area, regardless of where the country is, we
call it as we see it.
But the people we talked to, Egyptians, say that when they get arrested, when
they get tortured, it's by police who've been trained in the United States,
with equipment provided for and paid for by the United States.
I think that of course is not true. We do very little--we haven't since
Argentina 20 years ago--police training. And we've been very, very careful
about that. ... The key areas where we do it is in things like money
laundering. But I know those are common canards, and there will be always cases
where people profess to see American interests contrary to theirs. The facts,
however, I think speak to the contrary.
The fact that we support the Mubarak regime with over two billion dollars in
We worked very closely with it in the peace process, and it has been a very
important part of where we're going. But if you read the human rights report
you will see very clearly what we say about the Mubarak regime, open and in
public to the Congress, and to all the people in the United States and the
world, about the concerns that we have in the areas that you've just raised
And the Saudi regime?
Well, of course. They're all in the book, and any other regime around the
world, China, you name it.
So this Muslim anger that's coming up in the street, that we saw in Mombasa,
or in Dar es Salaam, it's misplaced, misdirected?
I believe it is. I don't think we consider it unimportant, but I believe it is
misplaced and misdirected, it misperceives American policy. Maybe it means ...
that we need to continue do a better job with our public diplomacy, in getting
the story over to these people. ...
You don't sense that it's because we are allied with people who are responsible
for these human rights violations ... that we are therefore becoming targets
No, I think we seek to get them to change, where we have objections to what
they do. We stand around the world for human rights and for better practices,
for open economic systems, for democratic systems of governments, we make that
very clear. We don't pull our punches on those issues. ...